Agony Shorthand

Monday, December 15, 2003
WAVIS O’SHAVE : “THE WORLD OF WAVIS O’SHAVE” CD…..This retrospective collection also goes by the name of “Bedtime Songs for Problem Children”. O’SHAVE is a genuine, no-doubt-about-it specimen of what the English like to call a “Nutter”. You might recognize the name from his genius track tacked on at the end of one of the MESSTHETICS volumes of late 70s UK DIY, “Mauve Shoes Are Awful”. This series always seems to end each volume with a “wacky” number, but for some reason this bizarre, inspired stumble transcends pure novelty and just lets it rip. Totally annoying and yet worthy of repeated listenings. Turns out Wavis O’Shave’s been on the British alt-comedy scene for two dozen years now, and bordered the periphery of sub-underground, home-recorded rock and roll as well. This collection will severely try the patience of many, as the humor is likely SO English that it’ll fly way over the heads of most non-Brits. It certainly left me standing on the shores of the Atlantic more than half the time. But I found a connection with a few of the less cuckoo numbers (“Jeremy’s a Pansy”, “The Fig Roll Song”) and marveled at a time when basement craziness of this kind found its way into record shops with ease. I guess it still does, but there is something worth crowing about to being first on the stick with a home-pressed EP of your own blathering way back in 1979. I have to laugh, even if it’s mostly on the inside.